The corporate media and ‘patriotism’

June 11th, 2002 – 7:52 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized
The corporate media and ‘patriotism’

This evening I had an eyeopening experience involving the American corporate media. I stopped by a site called antiwar.com, and saw a headline that read “US Backs Off ‘Dirty Bomber’ Charges.” It linked to a story at CBSNews.com, so I went to read the whole thing for myself. While there was indeed a story about Jose Padilla there, it didn’t contain anything about the US backing off on the charges. I thought that was rather strange. [Note: The link from antiwar.com is now gone, after I alerted the editor of that site to the change in content.]

A short time later I got today’s issue of Undernews, and in it (in addition to what I quoted earlier) there was the following:

||| CBS – U.S. officials are backing away from assertions that a man arrested last month in Chicago was plotting a ‘dirty’ bomb attack on the United States, CBS Correspondent Jim Stewart reports. U.S. officials now admit they’re not sure what American-born Abdullah al Muhajir’s plans were when he returned to the U.S. last month. And any plot, including possibly exploding a radiation bomb in Washington D.C., was in the “initial planning stages.” But given what he’d trained for in Afghanistan, they expected the worst. “He researched nuclear weapons and received training in wiring explosives while in Pakistan, and he was instructed to return to the United States to conduct reconnaissance operations for al Qaeda,” said Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
. . . . . . “He had indicated some knowledge of Washington, D.C., but I want to emphasize again that there was not an actual plan. We stopped this man in the initial planning stages,” said Wolfowitz. That was echoed by FBI Director Robert Mueller, who also said the plan to explode a dirty bomb had not gotten past the planning stages.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/06/10/attack/main511671.shtml

None of that material that Sam Smith quoted now appears in the CBS story, so apparently someone at CBSNews.com went back and rewrote it so that it no longer spends time emphasizing how Jose Padilla didn’t have an “actual plan.” In fact, if you go to CBSNews.com and enter “Wolfowitz” in the Search function, the first article on the results list is the original article (as you can see from the summary). If you click on it though, you get sent to the new article. We’ll see if they remember to fix the search results too.

Now, I had already been wanting to write something about this whole case this evening, talking about how Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al Muhajir, was being deprived of the rights of due process that he, as an American citizen, is guaranteed by the Constitution. I was going to point out, as others have, that the reason the government had decided to now declare him an ‘enemy combatant’ was because that after a month they still didn’t have the evidence to be able to charge him in normal criminal court.

Apparently, not only is the US government willing to do whatever it needs to in order to show that it’s fighting the war on terror, but CBS is carefully avoiding implying that the great and good government is ever, ever wrong in it’s prosecution of that war.

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